A School That Equips Us for What Matters Most
1 People go to school to get instruction that will help them reach their goals in life. What goal, however, could be more important than praising the very Giver of life and aiding others in learning his purposes and his ways? None. The objective of the Theocratic Ministry School is to prepare us to teach our faith to others. Thus, as we attend the school each week, we are acquiring skills that equip us for life’s most important activities.
2 The “Theocratic Ministry School Schedule for 2003” was provided in last month’s issue of Our Kingdom Ministry. The schedule includes details as to how the school will be conducted. You may find it practical to keep the schedule in your copy of Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education, which you should bring with you to the Theocratic Ministry School each week. Consider some of the features of the Theocratic Ministry School for 2003.
3 Speech Quality: Starting in January, each meeting will begin with a five-minute talk about a speech quality or an aspect of reading, studying, or teaching. The school overseer will present these opening discussions, or he may assign another qualified elder to give this talk. The speaker may discuss the definition and importance of the speech quality. He should then enlarge on the material by discussing Scriptural examples and demonstrating how to employ the quality, focusing particular attention on how doing so can enhance our field ministry.
4 Assignment No. 1: Brothers assigned to give the instruction talk are again advised to “focus attention on the practical value of the information being discussed.” This means showing the congregation how to make use of the information. If you receive this assignment, consult pages 48-9 of the Ministry School textbook for suggestions on how to prepare, and study the references shown in the book’s index under “Practical application.”
5 Bible Reading Schedule: If, in times past, you have not been able to keep up with the weekly Bible reading, why not resolve to stick to the schedule this year? Those who do so will complete the Christian Greek Scriptures by the end of the year. The benefits of starting a Bible-reading program with the Christian Greek Scriptures are considered on page 10, paragraph 4, of the Ministry School book.
6 Highlights From Bible Reading: This part has been lengthened to ten minutes so that the audience can offer comments on the week’s reading. Those assigned should stick to the allotted time. It will be presented every week, including the week of the oral review. As you read the assigned chapters, look for points that will benefit you in your family study, in your ministry, or in your way of life. What qualities of Jehovah were manifested in his dealings with people and nations? What did you learn that strengthened your faith and built your appreciation for Jehovah? Feel free to comment on any point in the assigned chapters, even from verses to be read during Assignment No. 2, since the brother handling the reading will not comment on the verses.
7 Assignment No. 2: The first student assignment each week will be an exercise in public reading. All but the last reading for each month will be drawn from the week’s Bible reading. The final reading of the month will be taken from The Watchtower. The student should read the assigned material without giving an introduction or a conclusion. In this way, he can focus his primary attention on his reading skills.—1 Tim. 4:13.
8 Assignments No. 3 and No. 4: Some of these assignments have more source material from the Reasoning book than others; some have just a theme. Those given assignments with limited source material or with just a theme will have the opportunity to develop their presentations by doing research in our Christian publications. This may make it easier for sisters to tailor their comments to their assistants.
9 Settings: As indicated on page 45 of the Ministry School book, the school overseer may assign a setting. If he does not, then sisters may select a setting from the list on page 82. If a sister gives one talk every two months, the 30 settings will provide enough variety to last for five years. Sisters choosing No. 30, namely, “Another setting appropriate to your area,” should write the setting at the bottom or on the back of their assignment slip (S-89). The school overseer will write the date of the student’s talk on page 82 of her book next to the setting that she used. He can do this at the same time that he marks the student’s counsel form.
10 Counsel Form: Your counsel form is bound into your book. It appears on pages 79-81. Thus, you will need to present your book to the school overseer after each talk that you give. The school overseer will need to maintain a record of the counsel points on which the students are working.
11 Oral Review: The Theocratic Ministry School review will be conducted orally. It will be held once every two months and will last for 30 minutes. Questions to be considered during the review will continue to appear in Our Kingdom Ministry. If the week scheduled for the oral review coincides with the week of a circuit assembly or the circuit overseer’s visit, then the next week’s talks should be given one week early and the oral review should be rescheduled for the following week.
12 Auxiliary Classes: In congregations with a school enrollment larger than 50, the elders may consider the use of auxiliary classes. “This arrangement might be used for all student presentations or just for the last two.” (Ministry School, p. 285) The latter suggestion is made to accommodate congregations in which there are many sisters but only a few brothers to care for reading assignments. The elders should select qualified brothers to conduct these classes.
13 Auxiliary Counselor: As indicated in the Theocratic Ministry School schedule, an auxiliary counselor should be designated by the body of elders to offer private counsel to elders and ministerial servants who present Bible highlights and give instruction talks. The brother assigned to do this should be experienced, one whose counsel will be respected by the other elders. His counsel should be constructive, commending good speaking and teaching techniques and recommending one or two points for improvement. There is no need to offer counsel after every talk given by a brother who speaks frequently. However, the brother assigned to do this counseling should be discerning and appreciate that even brothers who now give public talks can be helped to make further progress.—1 Tim. 4:15.
14 What to Listen For: What can assist a counselor in analyzing a presentation? The third box in most of the 53 numbered chapters of the Ministry School book contains a brief summary of what to listen for. The school overseer should also take note of other reminders or suggestions in the book that will help him to assess quickly the coherent development and effectiveness of a presentation. For example, note the series of questions at the top of page 55 and the ideas in the last paragraph on page 163.
15 Fill in the Blanks: In addition to its wide margins, the Ministry School book has a number of blank spaces designed for you to add notes during your personal study and when you attend the Theocratic Ministry School. (See pages 77, 92, 165, 243, 246, and 250.) Be sure to bring your book with you each week. Follow along during the opening talk. Keep your book open for the remainder of the school. Note the suggestions made by the school overseer. Pay attention to teaching methods, questions, examples, figures of speech, illustrations, visual aids, and contrasts used by the speakers. By taking good notes, you will be able to recall and use the many rich points gleaned from the school.
16 Jesus Christ appreciated that preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom is the greatest privilege that can be extended to anyone. It was his main commission. (Mark 1:38) He said: “I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.” (Luke 4:43) As those who have accepted the invitation to follow him, we too are intensely occupied with preaching the good news, and we are always striving to improve the quality of our “sacrifice of praise.” (Heb. 13:15) To that end, may we be determined to participate regularly in the Theocratic Ministry School, a school that will help to prepare us for what matters most in life.